How To Set The Dinner Table

Set a table by learning how to place a knife, fork, and spoon. Centerpieces are a finishing touch to helping families have mealtime.

In the United States generations ago, family mealtime around the kitchen table happened every night. The table set with plate, drinking glass, knife, fork, spoon, napkin and a centerpiece was very commonplace in most homes. Today many children in our country are growing up not even knowing about mealtime around a kitchen table, much less how to set the table.

We live in a fast paced society where fast food chains are thriving. Meals are eaten in the car, at the gym, at work, at play, and anywhere else except for the kitchen table. Mealtime is becoming a lost art and with it the art of setting a table properly. Eating together is not only fun but also necessary to slow down and listen to each other. What better place to eat together than around a kitchen table with the table set?

A basic table setting is easy and fun. Have a family together time and teach how to set the table. Younger children will love it and will ask to get to set the table often, if you explain it in a positive manner. Even older children will appreciate a nicely set table. If you are unable to set a table once a day for a meal together, try picking out one special day each week where you sit down together at a table that has been set.

To set a basic table, you will need a dinner plate, glass, knife, fork, spoon and napkin. A simple centerpiece, salt and pepper along with any other seasonings or condiments your family enjoys is a wonderful finishing touch. Placemats or tablecloths are nice but don't overdo it unless you enjoy overdoing it. Keeping it simple may be the key to routine table setting.

Place the dinner plates one inch from the edge of the table. If there is a pattern in the middle of the plate, make sure that it is right side. Place the knife on the right side of the plate, blade inward, one inch from the edge of the table, handle end of knife at the bottom. Make sure the knife is next to the plate, not underneath the plate. The tablespoon is placed next to the knife, also one inch from the bottom of the table. The fork is place on the left side of the dinner plate one inch from the edge of the table, making sure it is also next to the plate verses underneath the plate. The napkin is folded in half and placed next to the fork with the crease farthest away from the fork. The glass is placed directly above the knife approximately one inch.

If other silverware is needed for salad, soup, or dessert, place the spoons next to the spoons and forks next to the forks. Silverware is placed in order of what is to be eaten, beginning furthest away from the dinner plate and working your way towards the dinner plate. A salad fork would be placed next to the dinner fork, one inch from the edge of the table, and would be furthest from the dinner plate. A soupspoon would be placed next to the tablespoon, one inch from the edge of the table, and would be furthest from the dinner plate. A dessert fork would be placed next to the dinner plate before the dinner fork because you would use the dessert fork last.

Centerpieces can be simple or elaborate, fun and festive, or elegant and beautiful. Table setting themes are easily achieved with seasonal items and seasonal napkins. Seasonal salt and pepper shakers can be purchased inexpensively. A bouquet of flowers, a ceramic object, pinecones, a toy, leaves, fruit, and almost anything else can be used as a centerpiece. Having a centerpiece that is too large and tall is the most common mistake. Make sure that people are able to see across the table to others sitting at the table without the centerpiece blocking their view. Children love making simple placemats from construction paper to go along with a theme. They can be colored, painted, stamped or edges cut to fit in to a certain theme. With some simple preparation, any occasion can be wonderful.

Try setting your table and see how much fun it can be. Families and friends come together in a wonderful way when the lost art of mealtime and table setting is restored.

© High Speed Ventures 2011